Jalen Suggs Continues To Look Like The Type Of Guard The Magic Need At Summer League

Jalen Suggs Continues To Look Like The Type Of Guard The Magic Need At Summer League

Despite being viewed as one of the four-best players in the 2021 NBA Draft, Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs found himself on the outside looking in as the Toronto Raptors opted to take Scottie Barnes No. 4 overall. It’s hardly a knock on Barnes — who should thrive in Toronto’s vaunted player development program — but there were some eyebrows raised over the former Gonzaga standout seeing himself take the smallest of falls.

Toronto’s decision made the lives of the Orlando Magic brass all the easier. Despite having a handful of guards on the roster, the team opted to take Suggs with the No. 5 pick on Draft night, giving the team the kind of potential franchise-changing guard they’ve lacked for quite a while. After a strong opener against the Warriors, Suggs followed that up on Wednesday, flashing the skills that make him the kind of prospect Orlando has been seeking for years — even if the Magic were unable to beat Evan Mobley and the Cleveland Cavaliers,

Suggs’ strength and athleticism are high on the list of his defining traits. At 6’4 and 205, Suggs is big for the position, and with his athleticism, he’s able to put this all together on occasion to make the spectacular happen. Take, for instance, this tip slam over Lamar Stevens of the Cavaliers — Suggs comes flying in from behind the three-point line to clean up a miss by Janis Timma and elevated far above Stevens for the slam.

Later he had another dunk, borne out of Suggs’ ability to move around, find space, and exploit it when the opportunity presents itself. Jaylen Hands was put into the awkward situation of trying to play help defense without knowing that Timma freed up an acre of space by cutting to the ball. Suggs slides into that space, got the ball from Cole Anthony, and immediately attacked the rim, throwing down as Trevon Bluiett made a business decision.

Beyond his athleticism, Suggs’ ability to set teammates up made a few cameos as well. A former highly-regarded quarterback prospect, Suggs threw a pair of dimes to fellow rookie Franz Wagner. The latter was simply reacting to a scramble in which Wagner was able to get behind the free throw line with no one anywhere near him, but the former is perhaps more impressive, as Suggs used a Jon Teske screen to get into the paint and made a live dribble pass to Wagner for an easy lay-in.

The swing skill, the one that will determine whether or not he ascends to stardom or (in all likelihood) is a very good player, is going to be his jumper. While his shot is hardly broken — he connected on 76.1 percent of his free throws during his one year at Gonzaga and showed a propensity for being able to hit shots in the midrange — he went an underwhelming 35-for-104 (33.7 percent) from deep. He was not a killer from downtown against the Cavs, going 2-for-6 from deep, but he did hit a pull-up three early on that looked good from the moment it left his hand.

On the day, Suggs went for 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and a steal in 26 minutes of work. Like most young guards at Summer League, he was hardly perfect — a 6-for-13 from the field with three turnovers — but the flashes of being the exact player that a team like the Magic need were there. His final test before Summer League moves to its next phase will be his toughest, as the team will play Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, and the Houston Rockets on Sunday.